Do Your Research Before Committing to a Franchise
By: S. David Drewelow

These advantages however, do not guarantee success. People who rush into franchise ownership without doing their research often meet with a lot of trouble once their doors open.

Don’t be that person. Owning a franchise offers many advantages, but keep in mind you are still starting a new business and you should do your research before you make your final decision. Make sure you are well informed and that you have a clear understanding of all aspects required in the franchise agreement. Take these following steps to learn as much as you can, because once you sign that line, there is no turning back.

Submit a “Request More Information” form

Start by spending time on the franchise website and then submit a request for more information. They will require you to submit some personal information, so make sure you are comfortable with this. Look at it as a psychological test; are you serious about becoming a franchisee? If you are willing to give out this information, then the answer is more likely to be a “yes”.

Once you submit a form, you will be contacted by a franchise recruiter. This will be your chance to learn more, but I’d suggest you think of it as your first interview; they will be examining you and asking lots of questions to see if you are initially qualified to own a franchise.

Use your franchise recruiter to help you

When you speak to a recruiter ask in-depth questions regarding franchise ownership and what they look for in franchisees. The recruiter is responsible for finding new partners for the company, so they will be able to provide you with ample information. Know your questions before your interview starts so you can make a good impression. Only ask questions where answers cannot be found in the FAQ’s section of the franchisor’s website.

Talk with their franchisees

Every franchisor has a discovery and due diligence process that includes the opportunity for you to speak with their franchisees. This group can provide a realistic and honest portrayal of their franchise ownership journey. Make an effort to speak to several people because they will be THE most valuable resource for you. They will tell you things that will have a big impact on your final decision. Ask questions like, “What has been your #1 challenge?” and “What has been the biggest surprise as a franchisee?” and “If you had to do it over, would you join this franchise again?”

My goal, with every franchise candidate I speak with, is to help them determine if they are a good fit for our franchise and I encourage them to do the same with every franchise they investigate. And it is a two-way relationship, every franchisor wants to make sure they bring on new franchisees that are a good fit for their franchise as well.

In summary, when looking at a franchise, invest the time, do your research, talk to several franchisees and do your best to really get to know each franchise company you have a sincere interest in.  And most importantly, be fully informed before you make your final decision.

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